Yoga-Based Birth Skill #1- Movement (Asana) - Why Move During Contractions?

Article Index

 Movement gives you a sense of control.

Movement gives you a way to manage your pain.

Movement enables flow state.

Movement gives you a healthy outlet for excess adrenaline.

Movement works off stress.

Need more reasons?

Movement provides a natural and familiar activity to focus on— rather than the pain of contractions.

Movement is naturally rhythmic and rhythm is fundamental to focusing.

Movement “plays well” with other birth skills such as counting, mantras, and breath work.

Movement increases endorphin production.

Movement works with the labor process, with the body, with birth hormones and NOT against any of them.

Staying upright and moving will certainly be instrumental in encouraging effective contractions, opening the cervix, and moving your baby down through the pelvis and the birth canal.

However, for movement to work as a birth skill that reduces suffering you must keep your focus on your choice of movement and not on the eustress (the healthy physiological stress of uterine contractions).

For example:

You are outside on a beautiful crisp fall day, you are raking leaves into a pile at the curb, the leaf collection service is coming first thing tomorrow morning and you will be at work—so you have to get this job done, today. You have a large yard with many mature trees—so lots of leaves. You’ve been at this for awhile and your arms are beyond tired.

If your focus is entirely upon how tired you are, how sore your arms are, your aching back, and the momentous, monotonous task that still looms before you—-then the labor of raking leaves becomes a misery— your mind is full of suffering and your body feels more pain.

If instead your focus is elsewhere, the beautiful blue sky, the woodsy smell of the leaves, the coolness of the breeze, the warmth of the sun, the sense of flow and progress as you sweep the leaves across the yard, the promise of a rest at the end of this row, the reward and sense of accomplishment of a job well done…then your mind has slipped into the flow of the experience and before you know it the work is complete and the leaves are all at the curb.

The lesson here is to focus on what the body is doing during a contraction, not the sensations that are produced as a result. Use your mind to create a distraction away from obsessing over sensation.

During the period in between contractions you will be resting, taking in hydration and fuel. NOTHING ELSE.

Turning movement into a usable birth skill takes practice, discernment, and the devotion of your time ensuring that you will become comfortable with the most beneficial types of movement before labor begins.

Attending my Prenatal Yoga classes will assist you in becoming comfortable with using Movement to enhance birth and as a pain management tool well before your labor begins—it will also give you a chance to practice not just Movement skills but other Yoga-Based Labor Pain Management Skills as well.